Dining Hall Tips and Ideas to Help You Succeed in Your Nutrition Goals

New year, new nutrition goals? Use these tips to navigate your dining hall like a pro.

Your Georgia State University PantherDining halls are full of options ranging from smoothies and salads to brick oven pizza and homestyle comfort food. For someone trying to pursue a healthy lifestyle in 2021, making the best selection for your particular needs can be daunting! However, going into your dining hall armed with tips and tricks can help you to stay on track with your nutrition goals. Here are some easy ideas for dining hall success:

  1. Plan ahead. Plan your meals by visiting PantherDining’s Piedmont Central and Piedmont North webpages to look at the weekly menu for each dining hall. If you click on the plate next to “Breakfast”, “Lunch”, or “Dinner” you’ll also be able to see the nutritional analysis of the food you’re interested in eating.
  2. Choose wisely. Per the USDA’s MyPlate, a good rule-of-thumb is to fill up ½ your plate with vitamin- and mineral-rich vegetables and fruit, ¼ of your plate with protein (chicken, fish, tofu, or beans), and ¼ with carbohydrates (potatoes, fruit, or whole-grain), and top it off with a small amount of healthy fats like sliced avocado, cheese, or nut butter.
  3. Mix it up. Eating the same food every day can get boring, fast! When you arrive at the dining hall, instead of defaulting to your usual selections, take a few minutes to walk around and see what else is available. You might be surprised to find something new to try!
  4. Be mindful by honoring your hunger and fullness cues. Unlimited meal plans can make you feel like you’re visiting an all-you-can-eat buffet every day. To avoid overeating, try to eat when you’re hungry, avoid distractions and focus on your meal, and pace yourself. Take-out meals are now available at both Piedmont dining halls, which means you can take your meals with you if you’re not hungry and have something to eat later. Takeout meals can be purchased during regular service hours using PantherDining approved containers.
  5. Hydrate with water. Drink options like soft drinks, sweet tea, and lemonade may be tempting, but these are usually high in calories and added sugar. Instead, opt for water by carrying a refillable bottle to stay hydrated throughout the day. For a twist, flavor your water by adding in sliced fruit like lemons, strawberries, or oranges.
  6. Take advantage of everything your university has to offer. Did you know that as a GSU student, you have access to complimentary nutrition services? Make an appointment with a registered dietitian to help support your nutrition goals and needs!

Below we’ve included some ideas for meal combinations for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to help make choosing nutritious options easier.

Breakfast:

  • Scrambled Eggs + Vegetarian Sausage + Your Choice of Fruit
  • Peach Granola Greek Parfait
  • Breakfast Burrito + Oatmeal With Brown Sugar

Lunch:

  • Vegetable Herb Pizza + Mixed Salad
  • Fajita Chicken Burrito + Sauteed Onions and Peppers
  • Bun-less Hamburger with Lettuce, Tomatoes, and a Slice of Cheddar Cheese + Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Dinner:

  • Grilled Chicken + Vegetable Medley + Yellow Rice
  • Southwestern Roasted Corn Salad + Dinner Rolls
  • Pepper Steak + Potatoes O’Brien + Braised Swiss Chard

Now you can go to dining halls and try out your own combinations and be more informed on how to choose nutritious options!

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